The ‘Deep Slate: February 2008 Edition

[Ed. Note: 10/31/2015: This “post” was originally a pair of emails (“LIST” & “DETAILS”) I sent to my friends on 02/05/2008. I have posted it today in 2015, and backdated for archival/search purposes]


Sorry this is so late – more details as to why in the DETAILS email, but suffice to say: I’ve been swamped & actually don’t have much useful to say this time I fear.
(I’ll send this out NOW and the DETAILS ASAP – but just in case anyone wants my opinions before lunchtime voting – here ya go)

(my apologies if you get this multiple times & if you don’t want to get this type of stuff from me, just let me know)

Hey folks –
So here is my ‘Deep Slate for the Feb 2008 elections.
– This email contains the endorsements in a super-simple list – easy to print!
– The whys & wherefores are in a second email entitled: “DETAILS:…”. I’ll send that out shortly.
– Please feel free to forward this far & wide…. IF YOU GOT THIS FROM A FWD & want more details – send me an email deepATdeeptroubleDOTcom
– NOTE: Not all your ballots will contain all these issues/races – it depends on where you live

To find your polling place:
415 554 4375

Go Vote TODAY!

The key is as follows:
• the more UPPERCASE – the more strongly I feel
• exclamation = don’t get me started!
• * = I don’t know a lot about it & went with the Guardian or California League of Conservation Voters


Presidential Primary: still can’t decide

91 : NO
92 : no
93 : Yes
94 : no*
95 : no*
96 : no*
97 : no*

B : yes*
C : No


Hey kids – sorry this has taken so long to get out – I know many of you have voted – but honestly, I’ve been:
a) Swamped with vast & various demands on my energy (just spent the night at work!)
b) Completely indecisive about the primary
c) Relatively uninformed about the local and state issues because there haven’t been a lot of major environmental ones other than A.

That last one is important. Often times I feel like I have a lot of valuable perspective to offer my friends, but for most of the issues on this ballot, I don’t. Except for Prop A, most of my opinions have come from culling the opinions of groups I trust, my own (admittedly brief) research and reading the ballot guides. Thus, this is a weak ‘Deep Slate (in terms of strength of conviction) – on the other hand the next version of iTunes (what I work on) has many great fixes and new features if you get an AppleTV (the project I have been busy with) 🙂

(my apologies if you get this multiple times & if you don’t want to get this type of stuff from me, just let me know)

These are the details of my ‘Deep Slate endorsements – to see it in simple list form see the other email entitled: “LIST:…”.

Thanks again to the number of folks who have asked me for my opinions. I know I say it every time but it is quite true: I really am honored. Any questions or flames can, of course, be addressed to me….

Ok – so to figure out how to value (or devalue :-)) my opinions you should know the following:

• My opinions come from my experience in local politics over the past 12 years & the tons of candidate interviews I’ve done with the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters & all the lobbying I’ve done at City Hall, etc etc…. As you know I don’t get a dime for this, I’m a software engineer by day, and a political activist in my spare time.
• The 3 biggest “norths” of my political compass are environmentalism, social justice issues & good government (reform type) issues.
• I’m basically an idealist, an optimist, and a humanist.
• In some of these races it is a matter of picking between flawed options….
• Ballot measures are REALLY a bad way to govern. Most of the things done in ballot measures SHOULD be done in the normal legislature, where they are easier to fix if they turn out wrong. Another problem is that you have to boil complex issues down to yes/no votes – which rarely is a good idea. But this is what we have, so keep in mind that some “good” ideas make bad ballot propositions & also that there is often a lot of balancing going on…..
• I’m President of the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters & on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. While my views are definitely shaped by my activities in these organizations, my endorsements do NOT represent the views of these organizations.
• 90% of my experience & knowledge is about local issues – so understand that state issues are a little greyer for me unless I say otherwise. Thus some of the endorsements (as marked) below are taken from compiling what the California League of Conservation Voters, the SF Bay Guardian, and the Sierra Club have had to say.

The key is as follows:
• the more UPPERCASE – the more strongly I feel
• exclamation = don’t get me started!
• * = I don’t know a lot about it & went with the Guardian or California League of Conservation Voters


Presidential Primary: ?
Honestly I can’t decide. I have mixed (though largely positive) feelings about both Democratic contenders (I was leaning Edwards myself). Barack is exciting in terms of potential to be a transformative leader, but some of his policy statements seem relatively light on details. Hilary is a policy powerhouse and is perhaps best equipped to govern – but seems packaged and preprocessed. Perhaps she carries the intelligence of the Clinton White House, but none of the needed charisma. Various people I trust are voting various ways – so I haven’t decided. I have to say that it is pretty cool to be struggling to decide between a black guy and a woman. And I have the feeling that who CA picks will be the Democratic candidate. And I think the Democratic candidate will be the next President. (.ps If any of you decide to email me to sway my opinions, feel welcome – but PLEASE DON’T REPLY TO ANYONE BUT ME.)

91 : Transportation Funds: NO
This is total crap. Luckily even the people who put it on the ballot have dropped it because their more important goals were taken care of in the November 2006 Prop 1A. So it’s like this: there is a gas tax. The money is supposed to go to transportation. The past few years it has been “borrowed” to go to the general fund. But it hasn’t been repaid. This measure would force the money to go to “roads and highways” not to public transit or alternative transportation (why is WALKING considered alternative transportation, rather than PRIMARY transportation. Think about that.) Anyway, Prop 1A in 2006 fixed this so that the money would go to transportation. Thus, this is HORRIBLE fix to a bad problem that HAS been fixed. Vote No.

92 : Community Colleges: no
This is a tough one in that I don’t know a lot about it and it seems to be one of those “slightly lame but for the greater good” measures. Community Colleges are a hugely important part of our educational infrastructure and need support and better funding. The Guardian and many of the progressive education types I know are voting for it – but they all are holding their noses. No one likes that it is mandating an amount of funding in the General Fund, or that it wasn’t part of a more comprehensive K-12 + Community Colleges package. But the money is very necessary. In the end, a ballot measure that stipulates the course fees be locked in for all time* just seems like bad governance to me. No.

*once it is enshrined in a ballot measure it can only be changed by another ballot measure

93 : Limits on Legislators’ Terms in Office: Yes
Term limits have been a horrible failure for California (& yes I foolishly voted for them) – all they have accomplished is forcing the best and brightest legislators to enter bruising and demoralizing infighting every few years. (See Leno vs. Migden this summer) No good has come of them as far as I can see. It takes time to learn the legislative system and time to get things right and once people have learned all that, they are often forced out of office. This is a moderate proposal to at least make the amount of time people can stay in the same office longer. Yes.

94 – 97 : Amendments to Indian Gaming Compacts: no*
I know relatively little about the Indian Gaming proposals and went with the Guardian on this one. Basically, it looks like these are a series of sweetheart deals made with the richest and most influential Indian tribes and probably aren’t good for the rest of the Indian tribes, or environmental safeguards, or workers. That being said, the opposition is funded by the Vegas casinos who are just in it to keep the flow of Californians coming…. but I think “No” is still the right thing…. No on all four.

A : Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bonds: YES
Yeah – the one measure I know a little about. As you well know, our park system is desperately in need of funds. This measure is the product of a LOT of negotiation and haggling on the part of various interests (esp. enviros and park advocates) and city staff to craft a large budget improvement and earmark the money for various worthwhile projects. It is by no means perfect, but is pretty darn good & the parks need the money. YES.

B : Deferred Retirement Option for SFPD: yes*
The Police Dept is always coming to the ballot for various retirement proposals and given the various issues I have with the way the SFPD is run and the lack of oversight, I’m always a little skeptical. That being said, this one is potentially a good thing to keep experienced cops out there longer and the Guardian says this is a good thing more or less, and I can see the argument. Yes.

C : City Make Alcatraz Island a Global Peace Center: No
Ok – I like Peace. Especially now. But why the City has to back a random scheme to build the “Light Party”‘s goofy vision of a Peace Center is beyond me. We have real issues to work on. And while this measure is just to set the City’s priorities – we have enough IMPORTANT priorities thank you very much. As the Guardian put it “People don’t have to support everything with peace in the title.” And if you need more convincing, please go to No one I need to be handing Alcatraz over to. No.

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